Coco Movie Review
Colorful, vibrant and often mesmerizing, Coco is another worthwhile venture from Disney-Pixar, originally conceived even if the underlying plot structure adheres to the tried-and-true Disney formula. Set during Mexico’s Day of the Dead, the movie follows a young boy who finds himself trapped in the world of the dead—despite being still alive—as he reconciles with his family’s past.
The movie plays like Beetlejuice-Lite, a fantastically alluring odyssey into a weird world full of bright colors, skeletons and mystical creatures. Since it’s a kid’s film, it treads softly on the macabre humor, but there’s still some sprinkled in if you’re looking close enough. Nonetheless, Coco is entertaining from beginning to end thanks to a lively cast of characters, an energetic voice performance by Anthony Gonzalez and its imaginative setting.
I’m not very well versed in the traditions of Day of the Dead, but Coco appears to offer an adequate, inoffensive-I-hope depiction of the festivities and what they mean, though presumably watered down for Disney audiences. Directors Lee Unkrich and Adrian Molina infuse the film with a sense of celebration and love, even though it is, technically, about death.
At an hour and 49 minutes, and preceded by a 20-minute “short” film called Olaf’s Frozen Adventure (which is merely okay), there are obvious areas where Coco could have been tightened and shortened. There are a few--even borin--stretches in the second half, and the climax could have been simplified without losing a beat. As energetic and entertaining as it is, had it been 10 minutes shorter it would have been just about right.
Coco is a fun, beautifully animated and creatively rich film that, while not perfect, immediately establishes itself as another must-see Pixar experience.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.